Culture after the Hurricanes
Rhetoric and Reinvention on the Gulf Coast
Rebuilding in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita presented some very thorny issues. Certain cultural projects benefited from immediate attention and funding while others, with equal cases for assistance but with less attraction to future tourist dollars, languished.
New Orleans and its surroundings contain a diverse mixture of Native Americans, African Americans, Creoles, Cajuns, Isleños with roots in the Canary Islands, and the descendants of Italian, Irish, English, Croatian, and German immigrants, among others. Since 2005 much is now different for the people of the Gulf Coast, and much more stands to change as governments, national and international nonprofit organizations, churches, and community groups determine how and even where life will continue. This collection elucidates how this process occurs and seeks to understand the cultures that may be saved through assistance or may be allowed to fade away through neglect.
Essays in Culture after the Hurricanes examine the ways in which a wide variety of stakeholders---community activists, elected officials, artists, and policy administrators---describe, quantify, and understand the unique assets of the region. Contributors question the process of cultural planning by analyzing the language employed in decision making. They attempt to navigate between rhetoric and the actual experience of ordinary citizens, examining the long-term implications for those who call the Gulf Coast home.